Friday Sen. Lindsey Graham said President Donald Trump informed about the “potential” operation that ended with the death of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani when he was in Florida at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort during the holiday break.
“I appreciate being brought into the orbit,” the South Carolina Republican, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Fox News’ “Fox and Friends.” “I really appreciate President Trump letting the world know you cannot kill an American without impunity. We will stand up for our people and that is an absolutely essential message.”
Graham did not say exactly what day he learned of the plans. The senator played golf with the president at his Trump International Golf Club West Palm Beach on Dec. 30, according to reports.
The senator’s comments came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi complained that the airstrike that killed Soleimani was conducted without an “authorization for use of military force” or consulting Congress.
“The full Congress must be immediately briefed on this serious situation and on the next steps under consideration by the administration, including the significant escalation of the deployment of additional troops to the region,” she said in a statement.
Trump acted because “the intelligence was that Soleimani was orchestrating chaos in Iraq at our expense and throughout the region, said Graham, and he prevented “holy hell” from taking place in Iraq and the surrounding region.
“This was a defensive strike to neutralize future attacks that were planned and executed by Soleimani and the popular mobilization front: the Shiite militias in Iraq,” said Graham.
Graham added that Soleimani is dead because he “miscalculated” what Trump would do about aggressions on U.S. citizens, and he called on the president to threaten Iran’s oil refineries if the regime retaliates.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has vowed to respond to Soleimani’s killing with “harsh retaliation,” and Graham said Trump must emphasize that an escalation of violence will result in strikes to Iran’s oil refineries, “the last thing they have in terms of an economy,” he said.
“They are going to come after us with a vengeance if we do not reset the table quickly,” Graham said. “If I were the president, I would put on the table targets in Iran, not Iraq and Syria.”
He emphasized his thoughts about the oil refineries are his and not the president’s.